Requesting MCs: What can HR legally insist upon?

HRD speaks to two employment lawyers in Singapore to find out

Requesting MCs: What can HR legally insist upon?

Since 14 February, doctors in Singapore have been advised to give five days of sick leave to patients with respiratory systems, such as fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose. This is a precautionary move amidst the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) urged employers to strictly abide by the five-day MC regime during the ongoing outbreak situation.

Employers are also encouraged to advise staff to keep track of their health and see a doctor immediately if they are unwell. Employees should also be reminded to stay at home while on sick leave – even if the symptoms are mild.

As more companies return to the office, enforcing these measures will be increasingly vital to ensure workplace health and safety.

Read more: COVID-19: Who’s responsible for enforcing safety at work?

HRD spoke to Nicolas Tang, managing director, and Charmaine Jin, associate at Farallon Law Corporation to find out employers’ legal rights when it comes to doctor’s notes.

“All employees under a contract of service with an employer are covered under the Singapore Employment Act and are entitled to paid sick leave, provided they have been employed for at least three months,” they said.

“The employer can insist on proof of the said certification by a medical practitioner, for example a medical certificate, from the employee to justify his or her absence from work as a result of being unwell.”

Read more: Sick leave in Singapore: Are MCs mandatory?

To be entitled to be absent from work on paid sick leave an employee must:

  • Inform or attempt to inform his/her employer within 48 hours of their absence from work
  • Be certified by a medical practitioner as being unfit for work

A medical practitioner is defined as a doctor or dentist registered under the relevant authorities.

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